By James Atkinson

Gruppo Campari's acquisition of Jamaican distiller Lascelles deMercado & Co (LdM) will have implications for the Appleton and Coruba rum brands in Australia, where they are currently distributed by Brown-Forman under an agency agreement.

Gruppo Campari this week announced it had agreed to acquire an 81.4 per cent ownership in LdM, a publicly traded holding company that owns Jamaican rum brands Appleton Estate, Appleton Special / White, Wray & Nephew and Coruba.

"This transaction marks the third largest acquisition in Campari's history and positions the group as a leading producer of premium rum globally," the company said.

Brown-Forman has distributed Appleton and Coruba in Australia for five years, regional managing director, Marshall Farrer told TheShout.

"We've been contacted by Campari and we've both just agreed to business as usual for now, until both sides learn more," he said.

Gruppo Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz said the addition of the Appleton, Wray & Nephew and Coruba rum brands, as well as a portfolio of local Jamaican brands, bodes well for Campari, with the rum category currently in growth and consumers trading up to premium SKUs.

"When completed, this acquisition will give a further boost to the internationalisation of Gruppo Campari, further expanding our business outside of Italy, as well as strengthening our largest and most profitable business, the Spirits segment," he said.

In fiscal year ended September 30, 2011, LdM's rum and spirits portfolio achieved total sales volume of 3.5 million nine litre cases, Campari said.

The total purchase price for 100 per cent of LdM's share capital is USD 414,754,200 on a cash free and debt free basis, which corresponds to a price per ordinary share of USD 4.32 and price per preference share of USD 0.57. 

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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